• 64°

High school basketball: Cavaliers finish strong for 16th win

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

SPENCER — “Roller coaster,” said drained North Rowan boys basketball coach Jason Causby,

North got off a wild ride smiling, 61-50 winners over Charlotte’s Elevation Prep Academy’s Honey Badgers in a frantic tussle that took place on Monday night in the North gym.

North missed dunks, clanged second-half free throws and threatened to set turnover records, but the Cavaliers were strong-willed. They persevered. They didn’t lose any swagger in Saturday’s 50-point loss to Moravian Prep’s national team. If anything, North gained confidence from that humbling experience against big-time recruits.

“We worked and we worked and we worked tonight,” North guard Zay Davis said. “We did struggle on offense some, but the important thing is we never gave up. We kept battling until we found our rhythm. Then we made a few shots.”

The strengths for North definitely were defense and rebounding. Sophomore Brandon White, who is almost 6-foot-10, blocked four shots in the first quarter alone. White, 6-4 Kendrell Goodes and 6-5 Brandon Jefferson are all shot-blockers and shot-changers. Elevation Prep (9-16)  had a difficult time finishing anything in the lane.

The Honey Badgers managed to stay in the game until the final minute mostly because of their success at the 3-point line. They made nine from long range. North (16-7) made just one 3-pointer. That was by Davis to open the scoring.

“Elevation Prep has good size and good athleticism and we had identified three of their kids as really good shooters,” Causby said. “By all accounts, that’s a pretty good team.”

North had a nice spurt at the end of the first quarter to take a 19-14 lead. That strong stretch was fueled by the work on the boards of White, Goodes and 6-5 Denerio Robinson.

“We kept pounding,” Robinson said. “We stressed boxing out and we didn’t stop working. We went hard on the boards all night.”

White’s and-one dunk pushed North to a 29-17 lead in the second quarter. The Cavaliers went up  by 15 when Jefferson made two free throws, but EP staged a flurry at the end of the half to get the deficit down to 33-24.

“It’s a big difference mentally being down nine instead of 11 at half,” Causby said. “We played really well most of the first half, slowed down enough to make some plays, but then we didn’t finish the half the way we wanted. We turned it over a lot. Anytime, we showed uncertainty handling the ball, they took advantage.”

North quickly reclaimed momentum at the outset of the third quarter. When Goodes fed White for a vigorous slam and Davis roared coast-to-coast for a manly layup, North was up 38-24 and appeared to be on the verge of blowing out the visitors. But then EP found its second wind, finished the quarter with a burst and was only down five.

In the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, EP kept coming. It was 43-all when Robinson stepped to the foul line with 6:00 left and made two clutch free ones to keep North in front.

With five minutes left and leading by one, North was able to set up its press and created two critical turnovers. Goodes made a steal that got Robinson a bucket. Then Goodes scored himself for a 49-44 lead.

“They’re a good pressing team and teams that like the press usually don’t like to be pressed,” Causby said. “That’s the old adage.”

Stephen Quinn, a shooter, scored all 11 of his points for EP after halftime. His 3-pointer sliced North’s lead to two, but Jefferson make a free throw and then got a friendly whistle for a three-point play and a 53-47 lead with 2:30 remaining.

Quinn made another 3-pointer with 1:47 left for 53-50, but Davis attacked the rim without hesitation to put the Cavaliers back up by five. Davis’ vital basket triggered an 8-0 finishing kick.

After an EP turnover, Davis fed Robinson for a bucket. White dunked for the 59-50 lead that iced the victory. Then White capped the scoring with another enthusiastic stick-back.

“We played together and we got after it,” Robinson said. “We kept pushing.”

White had 14 rebounds and a bushel of blocks to go with his 17 points. Robinson scored 14. Goodes had nine points, 12 rebounds and six steals.

“We missed a lot of point-blank shots, but we also played really hard,” Causby said. “This game was good preparation for the playoffs.”

•••

NOTES: North plays at home tonight against South Davidson and should clinch a tie for first place in the YVC. It will be North’s final regular-season game. South Davidson is hosting the Yadkin Valley Conference tourney. Jaden Cooley scored 14 for Elevation Prep.

ELEVATION PREP (50) — Cooley 14, Quinn 11,  Parker 7, Farish 6, Prescod 6, Young 2, Page 2, Jones 2.

NORTH ROWAN (61) — White 17, Robinson 14, Davis 9, Goodes 9, Jefferson 7, Gladden 3, Watkins 2, Sims, Wilson.

Elevation Prep    14   10  14  12   — 50

North Rowan     19    14  10  18   — 61

Comments

Local

Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest

News

N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs

Columns

Amy-Lynn Albertson: Arts and Ag Farm Tour set for June 5

High School

High school baseball: Mustangs top Falcons on strength of hurlers

Business

Biz Roundup: Application process now open for Rowan Chamber’s 29th Leadership Rowan class

Sports

Keith Mitchell leads McIlroy, Woodland by 2 at Quail Hollow

Nation/World

States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

Nation/World

Major US pipeline halts operations after ransomware attack

News

NC budget dance slowed as GOP leaders differ on bottom line

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting

Coronavirus

People receiving first dose of COVID-19 vaccine grows by less than 1%

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools brings Skills Rowan competition back to its roots

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow